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Archive for July, 2012

Family matters

My father Jack Blane was born in Bletchley in 1918, at 14 Brooklands Road where he lived until his marriage.  He was the seventh of eight living children.  Six of his siblings were brothers and these boys were nicknamed the bullocks.  They all had bushy, rather curly hair, like a bullock’s poll or forelock.

My Grandfather Blane was a train driver, driving steam trains out of Bletchley station, which was then a very large, busy main railway junction.  His mother had been a schoolteacher.  She hadn’t gone to college or university but was known a ‘pupil teacher’, having served what we might think of as an apprenticeship after leaving school at 12 years old

When Grandma married Grandad in 1904 she had no choice but to leave work.  Married women could not continue as teachers in those days.

Dad’s father died when I was eleven years old.  Martin, Dad’s younger brother, lived with my grandmother in the Brooklands Road house for a good many years, until Grandma finally needed sheltered accommodation. Eventually she moved to a nursing home in Newport Pagnell, where she died in 1971 at the age of ninety three.

My mother’s eldest sister Nellie, who was some fifteen years her senior, married Reginald (Reg) Cutts in 1928 and moved with him to Bletchley where he managed the local Co-op butcher’s shop near the railway station.

In those early days Uncle Reg really was a butcher.  The animals (‘beasts’) were delivered live from local farms to the big shop yard, slaughtered and butchered on the premises.

Nellie, who became a Fellow of the Victoria College of Music, gave piano lessons at their home in Cambridge Street for many years.  I had lessons with her myself.  Many of those taking piano lessons in Bletchley had their music exams at her house, as the examiner from the College based himself there on his regular visits.

Although Mum was sickly as a child, when she holidayed in Bletchley away from the coal pits of her native town near Sheffield, her health always improved.  So when she left school at the normal leaving age of fourteen, her parents agreed that she could accept the offer of living in Bletchley with her sister and brother-in-law.  This would be around Easter 1934.

Hence my parents met, I believe on the ‘Monkey Run’, the then quite quiet A5 out of Fenny Stratford, where girls walked along one side of the road and boys the other, eying one another up and making comments.

My sister and I were the eventual result!

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Bletchley 2012!

Despite the uncertainty of our somewhat inclement weather, nothing could dampen the spirit of everybody when Bletchley welcomed the Olympic Torch on July 9th. The route was lined with cheering crowds waving their flags, many of them local schoolchildren who were witnessing the historic event.

From Princes Way the torch was carried under the Railway Bridge on to the Buckingham Road, then turned right down Sherwood Drive before a short detour into Bletchley Park for a private event. For those patient enough to wait 15 minutes the torch re-emerged on to Sherwood Drive once again and continued on to the Buckingham Road.

If you have any interesting photographs you took on the day please bring them into BCHI, we would love to see them.

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I was so impressed by everybody’s observational skills who identified June’s mystery picture I thought that I would try and bamboozle you once again with July’s teaser! As you can see from the people in the picture it is quite old, also things may have changed just a little. Well, I’ll leave you to do some ‘head scratching’ so the best of luck! As last time I have deleted the caption.

Down memory lane?

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We had a query recently from Sandra Waite regarding the siting of a ‘possible’ Army Camp on the Buckingham Road, this was positioned approximately the opposite side of the road to the Saints Junior School. I first discovered this site myself when I was in my teens in the ’50s, although no buildings existed then I do remember the concrete bases that the huts used to stand on. I’m pleased to say we have come up with this aerial photograph possibly taken in the 1930s-1940s. We do not know however, if this was an Army camp or not, possibly it may have even been used by the DWS or the GPO. 

Having looked on some maps of the 1920s we can confirm the ‘old camp’ was not there then, so that rules out any First World War connection. However, the map from the 1930-1940s clearly shows some buildings there.

The site of the ‘old camp’ is circled in red

You will also see the Saints Estate had not yet been developed, so to help location I have dropped in a caption to show roughly where the Saints School now stands.

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To enlarge the map just double click on the image.

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Quite often when meeting somebody for the first time conversation often tends to go, ‘well, what school did you go to’? This took me back a few years when a ‘good friend’ and I from BCHI decided to go on an excellent course run by Milton Keynes Heritage, our subject we decided would be Bletchley Schools.

We were most certainly not expert ‘webmasters’, however what we lacked in expertise then we hope you will think the ‘attached link’ below has plenty of content. Along the way we not only gathered more confidence and material for our site but we were lucky to be supported by other friends who provided us with material also. Clearly, not every school in Bletchley is mentioned but we hope you enjoy an insight into school life over the years.

http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/bfss/index.html

Please spend a while perusing our site it may bring back a memory, or hopefully possibly answer some questions that may have puzzled you. Alternatively, perhaps you might like to share some of ‘your school memories with us’.

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